Harrison Hill Hummock

A typical hummock peeking through an early morning fog in the Harrison Hills area of Lincoln County.

Through the eons, Wisconsin topography has been molded by glaciation. Some 15,000 years ago, the eastern edge of the Wisconsin Valley Lobe extended to an area between US 51 and Highway 17 in northern Wisconsin.  The leading edge of the glacier carried a considerable amount of glacial till that would eventually be deposited on the landscape during times of ice melt. At the terminus of glacier migration, large terminal moraines formed at the site of till release.  In other areas of successive glacier advance and retreat, a more irregular deposition of the till formed irregular shaped hills. As the glacier finally retreated, ice blocks would be left in the valleys of the newly formed hills.  The weight of the ice blocks further depressed the valley floors forming small lakes as the blocks melted.

One special area of hummocky (a geologic term for hilly) glacial topography is Harrison Hills, located to the west of Highway 17 between Merrill and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. County Highway B winds through this hill country past many small glacial lakes. This particular lake had a symmetrical hill whose fall colors seemed to slice through a thick fog.

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